Simple Peach Creates
Quick And Easy Creations For Our Busy Lives
So, looking at my stats from last year, I saw that I REALLY slacked off as the year progressed. I switched to a self hosted website and the time that I used to spend posting quickly went to trying to figure out how to get the site set up the way I wanted it. As you can see, I haven’t succeeded. Yet. I’m going to keep at it but I also want to get back to posting regularly.
At the beginning of last year, NaBloPoMo was a huge motivator for me so when I needed some motivation, I went back to what worked. Only to find that it had completely changed!! NaBloPoMo is now Blogher writing lab and there’s a facebook group and everything. I haven’t been able to find a list of the prompts yet so I may just be winging them every day for awhile till I do but I’m excited for this new motivation.
I had to laugh when I read this prompt this morning though because I’m pretty sure I’m still trying to figure out what my New Year’s resolutions are!
Generally, I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I wrote about it last year and after re-reading, I realized that not a whole lot has changed. I still feel like I’m not exercising enough. I still feel like I’m not eating properly. I still feel like I need to lighten up and laugh more. I still think that New Year’s resolutions suck because we are completely picking ourselves apart bit by bit. I still believe that what you feed will grow.
And with that in mind, I’m hoping to change my approach this year. I’m trying to take my time with my New Year’s resolutions and with myself. I’m trying to be gentle and understanding and start over the next day if go to bed thinking I wasn’t the ideal version of myself that day. I’m trying to let go of the negative thoughts and feed the positive ones.
So, in the end, am I keeping my New Year’s resolutions? Yeah. Some days I am. And some days I’m not. And with any luck they will all balance out and I’ll come out ahead at the end of 2016.
IT’S ALMOST COOKIE SEASON!!! Need a girl scout cookie tracker to keep your life organized? Then you’ve come to the right place.
Picture me last year wandering around my dining room trying to remember which cookies had been ordered but not paid for; paid for but not packaged; packaged but not delivered. Could I sell those last 2 boxes of peanut butter patties that were sitting on my buffet or were they spoken for? (Oh who am I kidding? The peanut butter patties are ALWAYS spoken for. By me!) And all of that was just for one Girl Scout. This year, we’ve got two of them! So we’re going to have to keep good track of our sales if we want to make sure there are no fights and mommy doesn’t lose her mind, give up and just eat ALL of the cookies herself.
I’ve always been a very detail oriented person but my memory has never been what you would call great. Last year in order to try to tame the cookie chaos, I made a sales tracker to keep up with what was going on during this hectic season. This year I’ve prettied it up a little and added some things to keep track of the newest girl scout so we’re ready to bring on the cookies! I think the cookie tracker is pretty self explanatory but I’m the one who built it so I guess I would. Here’s an overview of it’s features:
This is pretty much just like the lovely order form that you get from your leader. The main difference is that this will calculate the amount of money due. So, see line 32? I’ve put in some sample information. All I filled in was the name and the number of each type of cookie the person wanted and then the order total was calculated. Also, when you check the money received box, it will add that amount to the total at the bottom of the column. Want to know how much money you should have on hand from your sales? Just check everyone off who’s paid and look at the total on the bottom! The table also calculates the total boxes sold for each type of cookie and transfers that to the supply table at the bottom so you always know what’s on hand.
This little table has a LOT of information in it. This will keep track of how many boxes were ordered per kid, how many boxes you have on hand and how many you need to order to keep a certain amount of ‘stock’. The first graphic below shows you how to enter orders when you place them with your cookie manager. You can see that I placed an initial order with each girls cookie manager and now I’ll add the information to my Girl Scout Cookie Tracker.
- When putting in an order, record any info that you want to keep track of in the ‘order number and date’ line. I usually put in the date, the check number that I paid with and the amount of money it was for.
- Next check which kid the order was for/from (ie. which troop you’re supporting). By checking the box (Kid #1, Kid #2) after the order information, the sum of the boxes that you enter will be transferred to the totals line at the end and separated by kid. This is an awesome way to make sure you’re supporting each kiddos troop equally throughout the sale.
- Now you can enter how many boxes of each type of cookies you ordered. Notice as you do, the sum is calculated below the kid that you designated with the check boxes. You will be able to easily tell how many boxes each kid has purchased from their troop just by looking at the total line at the bottom right of the table. Here it’s 36 boxes each. We’re not going to be worrying about who sold how many thin mints or caramel delights. What matters for patches is how many boxes the girls have bought from/for their troop so this helps me to make sure we’ve got equal amounts.
- The total boxes on hand row was a life saver for me last year. It takes your orders from the supply table and subtracts your sales from the sales table to let you know exactly how many boxes you are able to sell. We don’t always get to deliver cookies the very day that we sell them (yay facebook!) so even though I have 12 boxes of caramel delights sitting in the dining room, now I can easily check to see how many of them are spoken for.
- You’ll notice that the that the ‘need to order’ line in this graphic above is negative right now. That’s because I recorded my initial order and have positive balances (ie cookies on hand) in my total boxes on hand row. I always toy around with having cookies extra on hand. At the beginning of the sale I like to have some so this is a good way for me to see that. In the graphic below, you can see that I set my initial ‘want to have on hand’ values to 3 or 5 boxes depending on the type. This is adjustable in the formula if you feel comfortable editing it. For me, it’s more of a reference than anything but I can easily see that if I want to have 5 boxes of thin mints on hand, I need to order X amount of cookies. It also comes in handy when we start getting more orders than I have cookies for.
So there’s my cookie tracking system. You can download the Girl Scout Cookie Tracker numbers document here. I hope that it helps make your cookie season easier and that your girls have a great sale!
Is there anything that you would do to improve the tracker? I’d love to hear about it and try to put it in for next year! Email me or leave a comment below if you need an excel version. I think I can export one but I haven’t tested the functionality of the tables in word. (wanna be a guinea pig??)
This response to Michael Moore’s ‘We Are All Muslim’ article started out as a Facebook post. The last two paragraphs of Moore’s post resonated with me so much though that it grew into a blog post.
Ya know, I read this post by Michael Moore this morning. Have you read it yet? Has it popped up in your Facebook feed?
I stay away from voicing my opinion in public for the most part. (What can I say, I’m a libra. I’m very ‘don’t rock the boat.’) But as I was reading, I had this overwhelming feeling of ‘this guy really gets it.’
The conclusions that Moore drew about us as a race are something that I really wish everyone in the world agreed with. For me the most powerful thing Moore said was we are all “part of the human family”.
Yes sometimes we make mistakes. Some of us make really terrible horrible mistakes that effect others in life changing ways but in the end we are all still humans. We are one. Exclusion and fear mongering and hate only serve to separate us and turn us further away from each other.
I don’t say any of this to start a debate or argument and I won’t engage in one either. I respect you enough not to discount your feelings and opinions.
This is simply MY opinion. I believe that respect, open-mindedness and kindness can change the world. I believe that if we can at least consider someone else’s situation, perhaps we wouldn’t be so quick to hate or judge. I believe that a change in perspective can sometimes make all the difference.
And it is my hope that in my life, I will be able to see a time when all people can respect each other for our similarities AND our differences. We are all important to each other and we need to realize that.
I have two little girls who are going to be a larger and larger part of this world as they grow and if we can’t make this happen for our sakes, let’s at least do it for our children. Let’s give them a world where they don’t have to know the pain and suffering and fear of ourselves that has become an everyday part of our lives.
I have fond memories of advent calendars when I was a kid. Little cardboard boxes with plastic forms behind perforated cardboard doors that held precious pieces of hidden chocolate. It was a treat that I looked forward to every day. Candy!!
But when my girls were young, I was totally anti-candy. I mean, really, what reason is there for a two year old to get candy every day? Now that they’re growing up, I’ve relaxed on a lot of my parenting hang ups. (Remember all of those “I’ll never”s that you said when you were pregnant? Yeah. Everyone else was right. They go out the window at some point.) But there’s one tradition that has remained from that era and my girls absolutely adore it: our advent calendar.
Besides being anti-sugar when the girls were young, I was also disappointed by all of the advent calendars I found. The chocolate ones I saw were cheap, waxy chocolate. The Lego ones just added more clutter to our house. The perpetual ones with the little drawers to open like you find at the craft store required me to find stuff to put in them every year and then -again- we still had all of the junk cluttering up our house.
So years ago, I went in search of a activity based advent calendar instead of an junk or sugar based one. And this is what I came up with. It’s super easy because that’s what gets done around here and it’s not all that expensive either.
Curling ribbon. I used this curling ribbon because it’s shiny and matched the red and green theme I had going on but really, you can use anything that you have laying around: ribbon, twine, yarn, gimp, ornament hangers, twist ties. Anything that will create a hanger.
The only thing that we had to buy was the shapes because we’re a pretty crafty household and we have lots of stuff laying around but really, this could probably be an under $10 project even if you had to buy everything new. Under $5 if you get lucky at the dollar store.
Now let’s get to work!
Seriously, you’re going to laugh at how easy this is! Punch a hole in the top of each of your shapes. Add some ribbon and tie a knot. Lay the shapes out somewhere where they won’t be disturbed for a few hours or overnight. Write letters in glitter glue. Allow to dry.
When it comes to adding your activities, you can take the simple route and use small post its and stick them on the back of your shapes. Or you can take a more advanced route and print up a table from your computer, cut out the pieces and add them using an adhesive roller. Inevitably, I end up using a combination of these two methods every year. I start out with nicely printed ones but as things pop up and I realized that there’s no way we’re going to have time to do a Christmas craft with Mommy that night, I can slap on a ‘Go out for Chinese’ post it on before the girls check the advent calendar.
Conveniently, 25 items makes an awesome Christmas tree shape and we always hang ours on our kitchen door. So far my girls haven’t gotten sneaky and looked from the outside to read all of the activities but I think this year I may have to cover them 😉
Typically, we look at our advent calendar when the girls get home from school but on weekends it’s the first thing they want to do.
Take a little bit of time to look at your calendar and see where you can fit in your advent calendar activities. Your kids will love it, I guarantee! I’ve broken down some of our past activities into ‘quick’ and ‘more involved’ items so that you can hopefully find something to fill every day of your calendar.
Quick (usually at home) activities:
- Write a note to a family member and put it in their stocking. For older children, they could write a note to everyone in the family. This is a nice little treat at the bottom on a stocking on Christmas morning.
- Make paper snowflakes
- Sing Christmas Carols in the car (awesome for nights when we’re back and forth between classes or scouts.)
- Do a Christmas color by number (or other coloring if your kids are too old for color by number)
- Read and watch The Polar Express
- Decorate the Christmas tree
- Write letters to Santa
- Make reindeer cookies
- Make a Christmas card for Nan-nan and Pop-Pop
- Make a glue snowman
- Have snowman soup (hot chocolate or chocolate milk) with dinner
- Make reindeer food for our friends at dance class, girl scouts, school, etc.
- Bake cookies and give them to our neighbors
- Learn about another country’s Christmas traditions. A book from the library is perfect for this!
- Kiss under the mistletoe (for those oh so busy nights!)
- make a special card for your teachers to say thank you.
- Picnic dinner by the Christmas tree
- Call relatives and sing Christmas carols
- Make a paper plate craft
- Play board games by the fireplace
- Help put up decorations
- Wear new jammies to bed (We always save this for Christmas eve of course)
- Open presents (Easiest activity for Christmas morning.)
- Candy cane hunt (This is also a great one for Christmas morning when we’re trying to keep the kids occupied while we get the breakfast casserole in the oven and the coffee made before we opened presents. All you do is open a box of candy canes and hide them all around the house. When the kiddos find them all, hopefully coffee’s ready and breakfast is in the oven!)
More involved (usually outside the home) activities:
- But a gift for a child who may not get one
- Pick out a new Christmas book and read it as a family. We do this at the book store but if you’re watching your pennies or just don’t want to add to the massive stack of Christmas books around the house, this can also be done with a borrow from the local library. When the girls were very young, this started out as a book that I picked out for them and wrapped.
- Go see Christmas lights. For us, the big one is Longwood Gardens but even driving around to look at neighbor’s displays is fun. You know there’s always ‘that one house’ 😉
- Buy a Christmas tree
- Go Christmas shopping with daddy
- Go Christmas shopping with mommy
- Go out for cupcakes
- Go out for Chinese
- Go see The Nutcracker
- Go to a tree lighting
- Give your teachers their presents
- Watch a Christmas movie with a peppermint sundae (Vanilla ice cream with crushed up candy canes works great!)
- Go ice skating
- Visit daddy at work (great for when the holiday break starts.)
- Make pretzels (Don’t think I’m making my own pretzels here. There’s a local pretzel shop that offers a monthly pretzel making event.)
- Ride a steam train with Santa. This is an annual tradition that we have as a family. If you don’t have a Santa train where you live (or just don’t want to ride a train with Santa) you can just visit Santa. 🙂
Well I hope this advent calendar has made your holidays easier. What else would make your life easier at this time of year?